The regeneration and replanting of 6,000 coconut mother plants at its sub-station in Badagry, Lagos State, has commenced by Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR).
Dr Musa Kolose, Head, NIFOR Sub-Station, Badagry, stated this on Tuesday when the Technical Department team of the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA), paid a field trip to the sub-station.
Mr Dapo Olakulehin, LASCODA’s General Manager led the team to the NIFOR Coconut Sub-Stations and seed garden plantations.
Kolose said the replanting project would be completed between three years and four years when 60 hectares of coconut would have been planted.
At its completion, there would be abundant hybrid, dwarf and West African Tall (WAT) varieties of coconut available and at affordable prices, he said.
“This move will result in making improved hybrid, dwarf and WAT coconut varieties easily available and affordable for existing coconut plantation owners and for prospective investors in coconut farming.
“The planting materials being used for the regeneration and replanting are the best products of research works of NIFOR on coconut over the years.
“The planting materials that will be available to farmers from the seed gardens are expected to outperform the previous brands in terms of quality and number of nuts per tree.
“They will also be resistant to diseases and pests; they will yield more and produce better tasting coconuts,’’ he said.
Kolose noted that the current plantation/seed gardens were established in 1978 making them the first in Nigeria with the objective of collecting and researching into different coconut breeds.
He said also that NIFOR was determined to keep up with the pace at which Lagos State was promoting coconut and its value chain.
He expressed confidence that coconut farmers would begin to benefit from the re-planting exercise from 2027 through 2078.
He urged the Lagos State government to support the sub-station in all ramifications to enable it to produce varieties of coconut planting materials of desirable characteristics for farmers.
He identified major threats to service delivery at the sub-station as land grabbing and land encroachment and appealed for government’s intervention.
Responding, Olakulehin commended NIFOR for embarking on the regeneration of its seed garden with coconut mother plants.
He called for intensified research into commercially viable coconut processing technologies.
He said that the visit was in recognition of the critical role of research in the development and promotion of coconut value chain,
“NIFOR’s investment in the replanting and regeneration of the seed gardens is about N20 million.
“The exercise will go a long way in making Lagos State’s plan of having 10 million productive coconut trees effectively achievable.
“The exercise by NIFOR is already affecting the economy of the host communities of the seed gardens through creation of more than 500 direct and indirect jobs,’’ he said.
Olakulehin called for continuous collaboration with NIFOR in the development of improved planting materials and best agronomic practices and also in the downstream sector of coconut value chain.
He noted that in processing and in value addition, no value chain would develop or be upgraded without vibrant research.
“Coconut is currently being grossly underutilised as the concentration is on coconut oil, whereas more than 120 products can be derived from it.
Olakulehin pledged LASCODA’s continued collaboration with NIFOR for the development of coconut value chain in Lagos State and Nigeria in general.
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